Monday, May 7, 2012

Hi, I managed to write a small description of our latest motorbike trip which is also the first, as a young married couple. I came with this idea a few weeks ago. I presented the itinerary to Szidi and she thought this is  a good idea. This time we go to discover some caves in the Western Carpathians ...  some of them are famous and rarities.

The Major attractions are: Scărişoara Ice Cave, the famous Bear Cave (Pestera Ursilor), Cetatiile Ponorului and last but not least the Turda Salt Mine (Salina Turda).

Friday morning we pack up the steel. Only now I'm starting to really realize how expensive gasoline is, I pay a lot more for a full tank.

Warm up till Turda, then we ride on the Highway till we reach Cluj-Napoca, after Cluj we go toward lake Belis.

Szidi started to shoot some pictures on the go:

On the Belis barrage:

A panorama:

On the roads leading into the mountains, unusual images are revealed to us. The animals do not really want to get off the road, hard to avoid them ....

Here we roll on really bad roads, but it's getting wilder and more beautiful.

...some of them just stop for posing...

GO BACK !!! 

We make a little brake on the top... 

After this I'm attacking a more rough road , soon a rainstorm catches us, lightning strikes (fortunately we are prepared for such weather, we have rain suits). We planned to visit The Fortress of Ponor( Cetatiile Ponorului), but because it rained a lot and the snow is still melting the road is impassable. Soooo, we turn around and decide to try to approach from the other side of the Carpathians.

A little while after the rain ceases, the weather seems to be on our side, so we are heading to Scarisoara Ice Cave, the scenery is getting much wilder and more impressive.

17:30 we arrive just in time ... we are the last visitors for this day,,, we pay and climb down on the narrow stairs.

As we descend the air feels colder and colder, and yes we are equiped with motorbike clotching .... you can already bet that it's an ice cave ...

"The cave discovery date is not known. Some descriptions and a map was made in 1863 by Adolf Scmidl. Yhe cave is situated 1165 meters above sea level, 105 meters deep and 720 meters long, 50 meters in diameter at the entrance.
The ice volume is 75,000 m3 and 26 m thick. The temperature in summer is max. +1 ° C in winter -7 ° C and below. "

The entrance

It's not that easy to climb down witth off road boots on these 48 meter deep steel stairs.

The big gallery 108x78 meters.

The Church (it's bigger than it looks).

We make some photos for a while and then the lights are turned off, it's time to go.

We are pretty tired, but we stop for a snapshot.

As the sun goes down it begins to be desperately cold, we give up the idea to camp and we are looking for an accommodation.

We found a nice place in Garda de Sus, I thought at least we will not freeze, not to say it was too hot in the room.

In the morning we are relaxed, we calmly eat our breakfast .The road to the Bear Cave is much easier, we ride on tarmac too.

The road is good enough, the traffic is almost zero, so I can twist the throttle. Around 12 o'clock we are at the entrance of the cave and we are waiting for the tour guide.


" The Bear Cave - the most famous cave in Romania - (Romanian: Pestera Ursilor), was discovered in 1975, by "Speodava", an amateur speleologist group, and is considered to be an interesting site-seeing location.

The cave was so named as it was found to contain numerous complete skeletons of extinct Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus), a species of large animal which disappeared more than 15,000 years ago.

 Bear Cave is 1 km (3,300 ft) in length. It is disposed on two-overlapping levels: the larger part of the cave, 488 m (1,601 ft) in length, has been equipped to allow visits by tourists, 
while a temporarily active interior level, 521 m (1,709 ft) in length, is reserved for scientific purposes."

Oh yeah, the tourist guide, it's a 40-50 years old guy who speaks only romanian (I don't undertand how its possible something like this, but nothing surprises me anymore in this country).
For us it's not a problem, but there is a group from Budapest(Hungary) and another group from Poland.The guide started the tour, after a few sentences I realize that nobody understands what he says, so I make my move and started my first tour as a tourist guide in English and Hungarian. It was a fee for taking photos, I considered the tax is too expensive, so we only take some shots with the phone.

This is a picture from Wikipedia representing an unique skeleton of the cavern bear in situ, preserved in a perfect anatomical connection. 

Leaving behind us the Bear cave we head toward Padis on a 8 km serrpentine. 

Here again difficult terrain until we reach the  Glavoi valley.

The landscape is so amazing that we  celebrate like this: 

We start to slope 

When we arrive in the valley, we ask some guys about visiting the Ponor Fortress( Cetatiile Ponorului).They say the snow it's to big and we can't enter in the cave, but we could visit the terraces.
We decide that we will visit the cave another time, when we can do the whole tour, so I hope you will read about visitig the Cetatiile Ponorului in another report.

The place is  phenomenal, we try to blend in and eat our lunch here.

After lunch we ride toward Padis. In some places you can find snow on the roadside and the road is under construction. 

Flower field  around the snow


....this isn't at all - unbounded destruction

We move along the Somesul Cald river, afterwards we make a turn to the Bridal Veil (Valul Miresii) waterfall .  

After this we take the common E 60 route and the boring highway, around 10 P.M. we park the KTM in the garage. 

I want to use this opportunity and post some pictures about Turda salt mine( this was also in the itinerary of this tour, but we visited a few weeks ago with our friends)

The elevator:

I hope, that soon  I'm gonna  make a short video too, see yaaaa!

Cavemaaan 720p from Hosszu Toll on Vimeo.

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